Local MEP Sajjad Karim has been awarded an honorary doctorate for his services to the Pakistani community in the UK.
The many messages of congratulations he has received from friends and colleagues includes one from Prime Minister David Cameron.
Congratulating Sajjad on receiving an honorary PhD, Mr Cameron said: “Saj is a hard working MEP who has done much to promote relations between the UK, EU and Pakistan.
“I congratulate him on being awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Management and Technology in Lahore, Pakistan.”
Sajjad, who was born and brought up in Lancashire, was bestowed the honorary doctorate in Lahore.
The Governor of Punjab, Mohammed Sarwar, who conducted the formal proceedings, said: “I congratulate Sajjad on the honorary doctorate due to his work over the past 8 years in building relations between Pakistan, UK and Europe as an MEP.
“He founded and chairs the European Parliament Friends of Pakistan Group and is the first British Pakistani Muslim elected to the European Parliament.”
And Sajjad revealed: “I am a Lancashire Lad through and through, but I’m very proud of my Pakistani heritage and I am deeply honoured to receive this Doctorate.
“Having served as a councillor in Pendle, started a successful legal practice and now representing Lancashire in the European Parliament, I am very conscious that British Pakistanis, past and present, make an enormous contribution to our communities and our economy.”
Sajjad formed the European Parliament’s Friends of Pakistan Group on his election in 2004. He chairs the group that has gone from strength to strength.
In the past month, the group was instrumental in Pakistan, receiving GSP+ status in 2014. The Conservative MEP was influential in ensuring the South Asian country was included in the trade scheme which could promise 1million new jobs and a rise in Pakistani exports.
He said: “With the GSP+ trade scheme going ahead next year, Pakistan can start to build a better economy, provide better standard of living and promise a better future for its people.
“This new trade deal is good for Pakistan and good for the UK. We have a historic relationship trading cotton with Pakistan going back hundreds of years. This continues today, especially in the North-West where many of our textile manufacturers import fabric from Pakistan.”